se·​mi·​ol·​o·​gy ˌsē-mē-ˈä-lə-jē How to pronounce semiology (audio)
ˌsē-ˌmī- How to pronounce semiology (audio)
: the study of signs
especially : semiotics
semiologist noun

Examples of semiology in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Indeed, one of the most striking aspects of the show is how familiar most of the clothing semiology is. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, 13 May 2020 The semiology of the cowboy being about as obvious as that of the Stars and Stripes pin. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, 7 Jan. 2016

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'semiology.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Greek sēmeîon "marking, sign, token, signal" + -o- + -logy — more at semantic

Note: The word semiology is defined in the Century Dictionary (1889-91) as "the logical theory of signs, of the conditions of their fulfilling their functions, of their chief kinds, etc." But little textual exemplification of this sense is apparent before the use of French sémiologie by Ferdinand de saussure in Cours de linguistique générale (1916).

First Known Use

circa 1890, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of semiology was circa 1890

Dictionary Entries Near semiology

Cite this Entry

“Semiology.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

Medical Definition


variants or semeiology
plural semiologies
: the study of signs: as

More from Merriam-Webster on semiology

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